Some school districts in Tennessee have the authority to not only govern schools, but levy taxes. Metro Schools is not one of them… yet.
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is organizing an event this month to examine whether such an arrangement would be beneficial for Nashville.
In December, the Chamber brought Kenneth Wong, author of The Education Mayor, to Nashville to discuss school systems run by urban mayors. This upcoming event, planned for May 28, is geared to explore what Hill considers to be another means of establishing a solid line of school district accountability.
“We’re interested in exploring governance systems that create clear lines of accountability. If you look at the way the system is set up in Metro, authority and accountability for the system is spread out over multiple authorities,” Hill said. “We’re interested in promoting an open community dialogue about these two possible governance reforms.”
Currently at Metro Nashville Public Schools, members of the elected Board of Education set school district policy and hire and evaluate the director of schools. But revenue for the system must be approved both by the Mayor’s Office and by Metro Council. Some believe this dilutes accountability for schools among too many government bodies.
The issue will be discussed at a Chamber panel at the end of this month. Panelists include Stephen Smith, assistant executive director of the Tennessee School Board Association; Kent McNish, a school board member for the Franklin County School District; Julia Bernath, vice chair of the Fulton County, Georgia, school board; and Alvin Wilbanks, a superintendent of schools in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
The panel is planned for May 28 at the Adventure Science Center, 800 Fort Negley Blvd. Chamber members attend free; others must pay $25. For more information, visit nashvillechamber.org.